Tag Archives: Conversations with Writers

A birthday in Italy!

Having a birthday while teaching a course for Arte Umbria, in Italy, was a lovely experience.

2015-07-23 12.09.56It seemed odd to take my birthday cards with me and stand them around my room, where nobody would see them, but word had obviously gone around regarding the significance of the date – possibly aided by nearly 500 Birthday messages on Facebook! – and there were more cards, hugs and birthday wishes. And there are far worse ways to begin your birthday than sitting on a sunny terrace with your e-reader while you sip a cup of tea and wait for someone to make you a scrummy breakfast.

IMG_3490One of the course participants had even brought me a present, a patchwork table runner made by his clever wife.

2015-07-23 16.44.09The courses are held on an Umbrian estate amidst a rolling landscape of trees, the village on the next peak, stone houses and olive groves. I claim the huge terrace as my classroom, and we began work after breakfast, as usual. More important than some old birthday – it was the first day of the course.

As luck would have it, the guests went on a trip on my birthday afternoon, to La Scarzuola. I had visited this amazing restored monastery on a previous trip, so I felt justified in staying behind. I worked for an hour – honestly, I did! My work in progress was calling me – and then I took myself down through the gardens to the swimming pool to dangle my feet and soak up a few rays. As I found the chef just finishing her swim, I chatted to her about how she’d come to work in such a fantastic venue. It’s a good story. I’m not going to tell you because I want it for a future book. (Sorry.) As with many conversations with novelists, the chat may have taken the form of me interrogating her, but she didn’t seem to mind.

2015-07-23 20.21.11When the guests returned, a little gentle work rounded out the day, until it was time to get ready for another fabulous meal, including prosecco jelly as a birthday treat.

I ate two bowls full.

Don’t tell anyone.

Here are a few of my favourite pix from Arte Umbria 2015, include those from our day off, when we went to Perugia. If you fancy joining me on next year’s course it’s 13-20 July 2016. (It won’t be my birthday!) Go to www.arteumbria.com for more information.

Arte-Umbria-15-collage

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In conversation

Radio Interview

Had a brilliant morning, yesterday, being a guest on the Bernie Keith Show on BBC Radio Northampton. You can listen in here – move the slider up to 2:37.30

Bernie (and his gorgeous dog, Riley) made it a relaxed and fun experience and I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly. But Bernie kindly said they’d welcome me back in June when All That Mullarkey hits the shelves.

I was invited on to talk about Loves Me, Loves Me Not and was delighted that Bernie had not only read many of the stories, but had interviewed contributors such as Carole Matthews and Joanna Trollope.

The presenter makes or breaks the interview, of course, and Bernie had done his research and gave me the opportunity to mention just about everything I’m involved with, so I came away delighted. And I left him a chocolate bar and signed book – what greater gesture of esteem is there?

On-line interview

You can also read an on-line interview with me about Starting Over, here at Conversations With Writers, a great site, packed with material about authors.

Choc Lit Blog

Speaking of on-line presences, my publishers for Starting Over, Choc Lit, have begun an author blog at http://blog.choc-lit.co.uk/ and I have blogged the first post, Cover Stories. So do go along and tell us what you think.

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